The recordings I was able to collect in 2021 come from a variety of questionable sources, none of them ideal. There were no first or second generation dubs, and no multitrack masters to return to the source  and rework any of it. That any of this sounds as good as it does over the gulf of 40 years is remarkable. I'd like to take a bit of the credit for gathering, organizing, and preliminary cleanup, but huge thanks has to go my friend Steve Turnidge at Ars Divina, who put all these tracks together and sounding so amazing.

Any flaws in the album any additional material we've been able to present in 2021? A vocal buried in the mix? I insist those be blamed on the ravages of time, and not any of the engineers or producers or studios we worked with. Especially John “Johnny Rubato” Rogers, our drummer and producer/engineer, who is responsible for the majority of tracks that survive to 2021. John started recording us on a 4 track Teac reel, sans any outboard gear like reverb or compression or good microphones, eventually moving on to a much nicer Tascam 8 track half inch machine. That any of those tracks sound listenable is a testament to his long solo hours in the garage, experimenting and learning. Drums are never easy to record, even in 2021, and John achieved remarkable results. On the early recordings, I think he must have been using a 3 microphone setup: one on the kick drum, one on the snare, and an overhead, and mixing live onto one track. This requires a lot of practice and confidence, because there's no modern-style tweaking of the volume and timbre of each drum.

Perhaps the best quality were the original 4 vinyl releases, which I redigitized using the same turntable I had in the early 80's.

There's the first single, 3 songs, with William Adams on bass.

And the 4-songs on one side EP, with Joe and Al as a four piece.

And the Student Nurse track "Discover Your Feet" with the same band that came out on the Seattle Syndrome.

And the "Recht Op Staan" single with Eric & Tom.

Everything else came through cassette format. I know that most of my Student Nurse material originally was dubbed in John's studio ontomy very used Ampex reel to reel tape recorder, not so long after we recorded it, probably more than once, because there were many recording sessions over the years the band was active. From there onto cassette, and cassette to DAT (digital audio tape) in the late 80's.

You can hear an artifact of that Ampex reel machine at the beginning of “C'est Tout”. I should have turned on the Ampex a few seconds earlier, so it's still getting up to speed when the first note of the bass arrives, and so the frequency of the note changes. A bit of a note bend, except awkward and goofy. But it's the recording I have, and I've gotten used to it. So maybe you can, too. It's archeology, after, all.

The magnetic tape used by reels and cassettes doesn't age or store very well, especially in extremes of temperature or humidity. It doesn't like moving, or parked cars in the sun, or exposure to electromagnetic fields, either. One layer of tape, when stored, tends to impart some of its information, stored as a magnetic field created by tiny iron particles on the tape, to the layers above and below, so that you might hear “ghosts” of the audio that's about to show up 3 seconds later. And the plastic matrix stretches and even breaks, and eventually, it's no good at all.

Cassettes and all tape players have other fundamental problems. Their left and right channels are rarely exactly the same in volume and frequency response because of electronics and positioning of the actual tape heads, especially as they age and get bumped around. The actual tape heads get worn down by the passing of the tape over the metal head over time. And no two cassette players are the same. I have to laugh at modern hipsters who are “rediscovering” cassettes as a way to distribute their music. A few years ago working on another project, I went through 4 cassette players to find one that would actually even turn the tape. I do NOT miss cassettes, not one bit. But I'm grateful that the technology existed – because it was better than nothing.

Steve reported to me that several of the tracks he started with had “phase reversal”: a situation on a stereo track where the sound coming out of one speaker was from a speaker moving forward, while the other speaker would be moving backwards. This creates all sorts of havoc with the listening experience: certain frequencies tend to get cancelled unpredictably for the listener. This exemplifies this microexamination that Steve did of the tracks, and without which this wouldn't sound as sharp across the years.

A special thanks go here to Steve Rabow, former DJ on KZAM “Rock of the 80's” Am radio station. While we were starting this project, he posted a photo of a Student Nurse cassette (with John's original handwriting). I contacted him, and he was kind enough to digitize the tracks, some of which I didn't have, and hadn't heard in at least 30 years. Steve lives in Florida, and I don't know his life story, but that cassette has some miles on it.

" Come into the room, stand by the fire. The journey's been hard, and you've been gone for a long time"


They find it in the ground

You put it in your car

so you can drive away

so you can go so far.

It's rude when it's crude

and when they kill for it

It's nasty filthy stuff

you get your fill of it

You put it in your car

so you can drive away

You don't wanna walk

cause you think it's too far.

They find it in the ground

We'll use it up for sure

and when the oil's all gone,

we'll find another cure

We'll find a cure for us

They'll find a cure for us

to send us on our way

to face our busy day.